Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Democracy Now: AWOL in America (Kathy Dubie of Harper's, Carl Webb, Kevin Benderman), Mark Benjamin; Bob Somerby; Iddybud; Why Are We Back in Iraq?

Democracy Now! (always worth watching, as Marcia says). You don't want to miss any of it.

Headlines for March 15, 2005
- Up to 1 Million Anti-Syrian Protesters in Beirut
- California Judge Rules State Can't Bar Same Sex Marriage
- White House Defends Use of Video News Releases
- Judicial Watch Sues Pentagon Over PR Project
- U.S. Considers Selling F-16s to Pakistan & India
- UN: Death Toll in Sudan Reaches 180,000
- Audit: Halliburton Overcharged U.S. $100M
- U.S. Has New Plan to "Contain" Hugo Chavez
- Ex-NAACP Head Kwesi Mfume To Run For Senate

AWOL in America: Why Over 5,500 U.S. Soldiers Discharged Themselves
The Pentagon has estimated that since the start of the current conflict in Iraq, more than 5,500 U.S. military personnel have deserted. We speak with journalist Kathy Dobie who wrote the cover story for this month's issue of Harper magazine titled "AWOL in America: When Desertion is the Only Option." Dobie says, "Some of them leave because they're unwilling to kill, some because of family and personal problems and some because of the unjust recruiting process."
Three U.S. Soldiers Refusing to Fight Speak Out Against the Iraq War
We speak with three U.S. soldiers who are refusing deployment to Iraq: Carl Webb, who is AWOL after refusing to report for duty when his term was extended under the military's "stop-loss" policy, Kevin Benderman who has been charged with desertion and is facing a court martial after refusing to return to Iraq and another soldier who served in Iraq and is now AWOL after refusing to return when he has called up for a second tour off duty.
The Invisible Wounded: Injured U.S. Soldiers Arrive Home Under Cover of Darkness
We speak with journalist Mark Benjamin about the hidden casualties of the Iraq war: wounded U.S. soldiers. We look at how injured soldiers evacuated to the U.S. never arrive in the light of day as well as how veterans suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome receive inadequate and ineffective psychiatric care at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Over at The Daily Howler, Bob Somerby's addressing a number of issues including the way the left chooses to engage when they go on the chat & chews:

Let's face it -- that [LAUGHTER] was reasonably well-deserved, and [Rachel] Maddow was soon forced to change the subject. Having bungled her approach to Rather, she began complaining about -- who else? -- Armstrong Williams, and other tiny fish in the pond:

MADDOW: Real journalism? You want to talk about real journalism right now, with what's
been going on in the White House briefing room? You want to talk about what's going on with real journalists? We have got Armstrong Williams, Maggie Gallagher, Mike McManus, the fake news organizations and fake newscasts that are sent out to local reporters. We have got Jeff Gannon or J.D. Guckert or whatever his name is. If you want to talk about real journalism and politics in this country, you got to start asking some questions yourself of the White House on this.

Ugh. There was that hopeless liberal trade-off again: We'll let you talk about CBS, whose conduct we'll attempt to defend. In response, we'll complain about Armstrong Williams -- a person almost no one has heard of! We’ll let you claim Dan Rather’s scalp. We liberals will chase Mike McManus!
In our view, this was a typical weak appearance by a typically unprepared liberal talker, and the exchange was especially striking because Maddow is from Air America. Is this really the best progressives can do in talking about the mainstream press corps? During Campaign 2000, that mainstream press corps elected Bush by virtue of its endless misconduct. But few Americans have ever heard that, because "liberal spokesmen" are too hapless to say it; indeed, they've been silent on this subject since March 1999, when the press corps' grinding misconduct began. What do Americans hear on TV? They hear conservatives trash the press as liberal, over and over and over again. In response, they hear a string of "liberal spokesmen" who rarely show the slightest sign of knowing how they should respond.
Will Americans ever hear the truth about the press corps' conduct in the past dozen years? Almost surely, no, they will not--until people like Maddow are better prepared to discuss this familiar topic. In fairness to Maddow, it’s hardly surprising when a young talker doesn't know how to approach this matter. After all, for the past dozen years, many Big Liberals have earned good livings by refusing to discuss the real state of the press corps. As a result, many Americans -- perhaps Maddow included -- have simply never heard the truth about how the modern press really works.

Maria e-mails noting Jude at Iddybud's amazing piece on Jimmy Massey. "This is incredible reporting. I hope everyone will take note." From that article:

His disillusionment with the military began while he was acting as a recruiter, where he learned about the darker side of the methods used by the Marines in preying on young people from economically depressed areas.Jimmy has been quoted as saying, "A lot of the kids joining the military are from the ‘barrios’ and ‘hoods,’ or the poor parts of the Appalachian Mountains. Appalachia has some of the poorest counties in the country—so they’re sweeping them up."

One of my strongest recollections about seeing Jimmy last Thursday night was seeing tears well up in his eyes when he spoke about how he believes, in many ways, that as a recruiter for the Marines, he betrayed his own Appalachian people...his own blood. I thought to myself: This is no disloyal American. To the contrary, this is a man who is powerfully connected to the hills that he calls his American home and the people who have shared it with him.

Let's also note that Ron of Why Are We Back In Iraq? is now also blogging at " Watching The Watchers. I'm billed as Ron Brynaert: Pissed off blogger-savant." From the same entry, we'll also note this:

(NOTE TO MAUREEN DOWD - Mixter's one of those seriously opinionated female bloggers that you don't believe exist. I don't give a sh*t what you MSMers (okay...I am normally a fan of Maureen Dowd's...just not this week) learn from the bigger blogger blogs. Most of the best bloggers on the Internet are women and I link to at least a couple dozen of the best. "Male bloggers predominate" because well...why not check out Rebecca - another one of the best damn bloggers on the Internet - and see what she has to say about this: where are the women bloggers? well stop looking for the mainstream media to tell you about them. I hope to have a post up in a day or two expanding on this topic so I can give props to the smarter and better half of the hu-manandwoman race)